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Land of Torment and Loss





The first time I was told I was going to burn in Hell I was five. I had no idea what that meant. Had no clue what I was headed for. When I asked my mother she told me about a lake of fire. Mentioned words like Brimstone. I had no idea what Brimstone was but it sounded terrible.

I remember laying awake that night picturing the searing flame and the utter torment. See I had been burned by a curling iron. I knew what heat was. I knew that drowning in a lake of fire must be the worst thing that could be imagined. I knew then that I did not want to go to Hell. Never would I want to be there. But I remember that night as I lay in my bed horrified by the possibility of going there that I distinctly remember looking at the shore.

As I progressed though the years I began to think more and more about the shore of Hell’s lake. What might be there? What other kinds of horrors might exist just beyond that lake of fire. Would I be asked to swim it? And if I got to the other side what sort of landscape would I be looking at next?

I don’t remember how old I was when I heard about Dante. Can’t really recall the impact it had on me to think that a man had actually written a piece about the landscape and the tortures of my great obsession. I remember the fact was locked away from me. I was too young to read and understand Dante. My mother would have skinned me alive if she had known I even wanted to read it. So I bided my time and I waited.

I was weaned on tales of Tartarus. The Greek land of torment I read about quite a bit. They had descriptions of what it was like. How the punishments inflicted on the sufferer were hand-tailored to the victim. How poetic it all was, how perfect. I wondered for the first time about the designer.

For Hades was too busy ruling over the horrors of his Hell to ever take the time to design every tiny terror of his land. He had to have an architect. Had to have a genius bureaucrat who shuffled a boring set of papers and drew in the margins every torture perfect for the monster that deserved it.

I found myself obsessed with that guy. The one person who got to choose how a person suffered.

I became a Christian. I learned quite a bit about the alternative to Christ. Learned that if I did not obey and submit there was a consequence. I learned what I was headed for every time I stepped out of line. This only piqued my interest more, only drove me to think harder about the destination of the sinner and the fate that waited all evildoers.

My senior year, Milton. College and Faerie Queen by Spenser described the parade of mortal sins. Over and over I found more and more mentions of the land of Torment and Loss. Recently I read Dante’s Inferno. I had watched countless movies set in Hell. Looked at one picture after the next drawn, etched and painted that depicted Hell and its subtle horror.

I have learned over the years that there is a fraternity of artists of every sort who are having a discussion about Hell and its landscapes. I decided long ago it was a conversation I wanted to be in on.

When Crown, book three of The Manhunters series, is released the reader will be taken on a walk through the Land of Torment and Loss. They will see my interpretation of Hell and its landscapes and subtleties. I will have added my voice to the conversation.

I hope you will check it out.

SPFBO Author Interviews

If you are excited about the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off contest this year, here is an interview I did with fellow contestant Michael Baker. Come watch us battle it out for self-published fantasy’s greatest prize.

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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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